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Research


November 2, 2015

UW to co-lead West Coast ‘Big Data brain trust’ for NSF

Logo_eScience-stacked (002) copy

The National Science Foundation has selected the University of Washington, along with the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country.


October 29, 2015

UW scientists are the first to simulate 3-D exotic clouds on an exoplanet

Artistic depiction of exoplanet GJ1214b.

A nearby exoplanet has an atmosphere that might be similar to Earth’s before life evolved. In an attempt to simulate the structure of this exoplanet’s atmosphere, UW researchers became the first to simulate three-dimensional exotic clouds on another world.


October 28, 2015

Alaskan trout choose early retirement over risky ocean-going career

dolly varden trout

A new study in Ecology shows that Alaskan Dolly Varden trout, once they reach about 12 inches in length, can retire permanently from going to sea. They rely on digestive organs that can massively expand and contract and a unique relationship with sockeye salmon.


October 22, 2015

New UW model helps zero in on harmful genetic mutations

gene splicing illustration

By more accurately predicting how variations in DNA sequences affect gene splicing, a new UW model and publicly available Web tool can help narrow down which genetic mutations cause disease and which have little effect on a person’s health.


October 21, 2015

Gear, not geoducks, impacts ecosystem if farming increases

Geoduck clams after harvesting.

The equipment used to farm geoducks, including PVC pipes and nets, might have a greater impact on the Puget Sound food web than the addition of the clams themselves. That’s one of the findings of the first major scientific study to examine the broad, long-term ecosystem effects of geoduck aquaculture in Puget Sound.


October 20, 2015

UW study: Will Puget Sound’s population spike under climate change?

Seattle panorama at night

A UW graduate student’s research paper is the first serious study of whether climate change is likely to cause human migration to the Puget Sound region.


October 15, 2015

Affordable camera reveals hidden details invisible to the naked eye

Compared to an image taken with a normal camera (left), HyperCam images (right) reveal detailed vein and skin texture patterns that are unique to each individual.

Peering into a grocery store bin, it’s hard to tell if a peach or tomato or avocado is starting to go bad underneath its skin. A new affordable hyperspectral camera technology developed by UW and Microsoft Research uses both visible and invisible near-infrared light to “see” beneath surfaces and capture hidden details.


October 14, 2015

Venture capital investors with competing interests can inhibit innovation

Print

For entrepreneurs, connections are as good as gold. Especially connections with the right investors. But connections with the wrong investors can inhibit a firm’s ability to innovate, according to new research from the Foster School of Business.


New study uses high-speed search methods to better estimate climate threats to biodiversity

Yellow-banded poison dart frog

In a study published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers have used new high-performance computing methods and comprehensive data on the distribution of thousands of species to map the threat that climate change poses to birds, mammals and amphibians across the Western Hemisphere. They found that although Arctic areas have experienced the most rapid warming to date, climate-related threats to the Amazon basin’s biodiversity will eclipse those in other regions by the year 2100.


Bubble plumes off Washington, Oregon suggest warmer ocean may be releasing frozen methane

Sonar image of bubbles rising from the seafloor off the Washington coast.

The location of bubble plumes off the Pacific Northwest coast supports the idea that gradual ocean warming at about a third of a mile depth may be releasing frozen methane in the seafloor, causing it to bubble up as a gas.


October 12, 2015

UW remains fifth in global ranking of university achievements in scientific research

globe-TILE

Continuing a recent string of noteworthy accolades, the University of Washington held its place at No. 5 in the world on the National Taiwan University Ranking of Scientific Papers, which was released Friday. The ranking is based on performance of scientific papers in three major categories — research productivity, research impact and research excellence. “One…


New UW School of Law group to study marijuana regulation for state of Washington

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A new group at the UW School of Law will spend the academic year studying existing and emerging markets for marijuana, to assist and inform the state as it prepares to blend current medical and recreational markets for cannabis.


October 7, 2015

Student collaboration leads to first results describing sick sea star immune response

Students in the Ecology of Infectious Marine Diseases course do surveys for eelgrass disease.

A group of young marine-disease researchers from around the country has contributed key information about sea stars’ immune response when infected with a virus that is thought to cause a deadly wasting disease. It’s the first time researchers have tracked how genes behave when encountering this naturally occurring pathogen, which could help explain how sea stars attempt to fight the virus and why they develop lesions and appear to melt.


New UW report paints sobering picture of urban education in the US

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A groundbreaking new report provides a sobering picture of the state of urban education in America, especially when it comes to educational opportunities for poor students and students of color, who now make up the majority of America’s public school students nationwide. The report provides the first citywide assessment of the changing and complex public…


October 6, 2015

UW study finds LGBTQ older adults in Seattle/King County face higher health risks

The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) older adults in Seattle and King County is expected to double by 2030, and they face higher risks of disability, poor health, mental distress and isolation — along with a social service sector unequipped to deal with their needs. That’s the conclusion of a study…


October 5, 2015

Where to look for life? UW astronomers devise ‘habitability index’ to guide future search

The James Webb Space Telescope, a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, is scheduled to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in October of 2018 and will be the premier NASA observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers around the world.

Astronomers with the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have created the “habitility index for transiting planets” to rank exoplanets to help prioritize which warrant close inspection in the search for life beyond Earth.


October 1, 2015

Simulating path of ‘magma mush’ inside an active volcano

colored image of mixing

The first simulation of the individual crystals in volcanic mush, a mix of liquid magma and solid crystals, shows the mixing to help understand pressure buildup deep inside a volcano.


September 30, 2015

3-D printing techniques help surgeons carve new ears

Carved ear models

A UW otolaryngology resident and bioengineering student have used 3-D printing techniques to create lifelike models to help aspiring surgeons – who currently practice on soap, apples, and vegetables – learn to perform ear reconstruction surgeries.


Known fish species living in the Salish Sea increases in new report

An illustration of the longfin sculpin (Jordania zonope).

A new report published Tuesday documents all of the fishes that live in the Salish Sea. In total, 253 fish species have been recorded, and that’s about 14 percent more than in the last count.


Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores

How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington.


September 29, 2015

Arsenic found in many U.S. red wines, but health risks depend on total diet

A new UW study found arsenic levels in 98 percent of red wines tested exceed U.S. drinking water standards, but that health risks depend on one's total diet.

A new UW study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water. But health risks from that toxic element depend on what else a person is eating.


September 28, 2015

A new single-molecule tool to observe enzymes at work

nanopore channel

A team of scientists at the University of Washington and the biotechnology company Illumina have created an innovative tool to directly detect the delicate, single-molecule interactions between DNA and enzymatic proteins. Their approach provides a new platform to view and record these nanoscale interactions in real time. As they report Sept. 28 in Nature Biotechnology, this tool should provide fast and reliable characterization of the different mechanisms cellular proteins use to bind to DNA strands — information that could shed new light on the atomic-scale interactions within our cells and help design new drug therapies against pathogens by targeting enzymes that interact with DNA.


September 24, 2015

Cooled down and charged up, a giant magnet is ready for its new mission

The fully assembled magnet at Fermilab.

The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory — or Fermilab — announced that a 680-ton superconducting magnet is secure in its new home and nearly ready for a new era of discovery in particle physics. This achievement follows the delicate, 3,200-mile transport of the magnet’s 17-ton, 50-foot-wide housing ring to the U.S. Department of Energy facility outside Chicago two years ago. The fully assembled magnet will drive high-energy particle experiments as part of an international partnership among 34 institutions, of which the University of Washington is a leading contributor.


September 23, 2015

Chinese president presents gift to Global Innovation Exchange

Microsoft President Brad Smith, Chinese President Xi Jinping, UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce and Tsinghua President Qiu Yong at the presentation of a dawn redwood tree to the Global Innovation Exchange by President Xi.

Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the gift of a dawn redwood tree to the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a new partnership between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, during a ceremony at Microsoft headquarters Wednesday.


UW and Shanghai Jiao Tong University forge international collaboration on smart cities

Photo of memorandum signing

Leaders from the University of Washington and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), one of China’s most prestigious public research universities, signed an agreement Wednesday to work together on “smart cities” research, teaching and collaborations in their respective electrical engineering departments.


UW team links two human brains for question-and-answer experiment

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Imagine a question-and-answer game played by two people who are not in the same place and not talking to each other. Round after round, one player asks a series of questions and accurately guesses the object the other is thinking about. Sci-fi? Mind-reading superpowers? Not quite. University of Washington researchers recently used a direct brain-to-brain…


September 21, 2015

AI system solves SAT geometry questions as well as average human test taker

SAT photo Aaron Escobar, flickr

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and UW computer scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can solve SAT geometry questions as well as the average American 11th-grade student, a breakthrough in AI research.


September 17, 2015

Scientists: Let wildfires burn when prudent

forest fire burning

In a commentary published Sept. 17 in Science, a team of scientists, including University of Washington researchers Jerry Franklin and James Agee, describe unique opportunities and provide suggestions to reform forest fire management to reduce the impacts of inevitable wildfires in future years.


September 15, 2015

Young chum salmon may get biggest nutrition boost from Elliott Bay restored beaches

UW researchers sample for young salmon and invertebrates along a restored beach at Seacrest Park in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

University of Washington researchers have found the types of organisms in Seattle’s Elliott Bay change depending on the shoreline nearby, either armored or restored beaches. Young chum salmon adjusted their diets based on these changes.


September 14, 2015

A more acidic ocean will bend the mermaid’s wineglass

Mermaid's wineglass algae.

New research from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories shows that a more acidic ocean can weaken the protective shell of a delicate alga. The findings, published Sept. 9 in the journal Biology Letters, come at a time when global climate change may increase ocean acidification.


September 8, 2015

Gender, corporate culture at Boeing explored in new book ‘Capitalist Family Values’

"Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing" by Polly Myer, lecturer in the UW history department. We offer a Q and A with Myers.

Polly Myers is a lecturer in the UW Department of History and author of the book “Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing,” published by University of Nebraska Press.


New wearable technology can sense appliance use, help track carbon footprint

Electromagnetic radiation patterns of various appliances

A new wearable technology developed at the University of Washington called MagnifiSense can sense what devices and vehicles its user interacts with, which can help track that individual’s carbon footprint, enable smart home applications or even assist with elder care.


UW scientists are pioneering research on ‘body maps’ in babies’ brains

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For more than half a century, scientists have studied how the surface of the body is mapped in parts of the brain associated with touch. That research has focused largely on “body maps” that show how certain parts of the brain correspond point-for-point with the body’s topography. These body maps have been studied extensively in…


September 4, 2015

September launch could give UW team rare measurements of ‘dusty plasmas’

An experimental atmospheric rocket

Researchers from the University of Washington are awaiting the launch an over 50-foot-long rocket from a launch site in Norway into the upper reaches of the atmosphere to observe and measure a puzzling phenomenon.


Poplar trees are best bet for biofuel in UW-led research project

Poplar materials, including bark, leaves and wood, are used to make cellulosic ethanol.

A five-year, $40 million study is laying the foundation for a Pacific Northwest industry that converts sustainably produced poplar feedstock into fuels and chemicals. The research, led by the University of Washington, will seed the world’s first wood-based cellulosic ethanol production facility.


Climate change could leave Pacific Northwest amphibians high and dry

frog peeking out of water

A new model for snow-fed mountain wetlands projects that the extremely dry conditions seen this year could be commonplace by the 2070s, affecting mountain species.


August 26, 2015

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have just one membrane sac that encloses their bodies. This organism, used in the study, was collected from a tropical-water tank at the Seattle Aquarium.

The membranes of sediment-entombed archaea are an increasingly popular way to determine ocean surface temperatures back to the age of the dinosaurs. But new results show that changing oxygen can affect the reading by as much as 21 degrees C.


August 25, 2015

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

Nautilus pompilius swimming next to Allonautilus scrobiculatus off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn’t seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers one of the world’s rarest animals, a remote encounter that may become even more infrequent if illegal fishing…


August 24, 2015

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less ‘geeky’

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Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they’re less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses. A new study of 270 high school students shows that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer…


Power lines restrict sage grouse movement in Washington

male sage grouse

Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds.



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